Can I honor you or somebody you know when I race Ironman Florida? Please read on...
It was the morning of October 23, 2004 when I took my first steps to fight blood cancer. A five mile run in the early morning darkness. Although I had run this route through the Dallas suburban streets many times, this morning it felt new because on my wrist was a purple band. Etched into the inside was a single name; Sydney. She was six years old and recently diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. This was the first day I ran with the purple wrist band and the first day Sydney was with me in spirit. Undeniably, there was a spring in my step. The training finally had a name along with a purpose.
The wrist band was on my arm when I tackled -- or more correctly was tackled by -- the St. Croix Ironman 70.3 last year. I dedicated the race to her.
When I returned to St. Croix this year to exact some revenge on the course that nearly sent me to the hospital the year before I carried with me an additional name; that of my uncle Robert Brennan. He was diagnosed with leukemia the day after Christmas. Uncle Bob is still with us today but the scales of survival are steadily tipping away from his favor. I may not be able to say as much for him for many more days.
Since that October 2004 morning I have met other brave souls just diagnosed and survivors of blood cancers. I have also had to say goodbye to some of them when they were robbed from us by the diseases. For them, five weeks ago, I dedicated the Big Kahuna Half Ironman to by carrying their names on a note card for the entire race.
This evening, as I write this, it is less than a month from my first Ironman and I am asking you for help. Will you give me permission to race in honor of the people you know touched by cancer in Ironman Florida? Here's my request: provide to me the names of those you know who are fighting cancer, any form of cancer, or has lost their struggle. I will carry the names with me for the entire 140.6 miles of Ironman Florida on November 4. It is for them, for their honor or their memory, that I will toe the starting line.
Please leave a comment with the name or names, if they are alive or passed, and if you wish, tell me something special about them. Or, if you'd rather, email me at TriBoomer@comcast.net All names and information emailed to me will be held in confidence.
Racing in the two half-Ironman and one full Ironman triathlons this year has never been about me. It's about fighting cancer and helping the people it's touching.
BoomerNation, allow me this honor and privilege to race for the people you know. By doing this, a part of you will be with me for every stroke, turn of the crank, and stride of Ironman Florida.
These names will define why I train for Ironman.
Oh, and the purple band with Sydney's name? I wore it today, like I do every day. As for Sydney? She's in remission.